Sustainability has become imperative for all hotels.
Consumers are more conscious about the products they invest in and wish to know that brands are making an effort toward a more eco-friendly future.
Jochen Zeitz said, “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It is about doing more good.” I certainly agree with that and there are many small and big steps we can start taking to do more good in our industry. But as with any radical change, it’s always easier said than done.
The pressure is on for luxury hotels because, historically, we are notoriously known for doing everything wrong when it comes to the environment. As we begin to make this transition, rapid changes are needed within the management teams, as well as with the stakeholders.
Sometimes, that can be a challenge that seems impossible to overcome. When presenting the idea of going green and finding ways to promote responsible luxury, one must know how to approach and engage the stakeholders.
Here are a few insights I can share to help assist your efforts of getting buy-in from everyone at your company.
Use Words That Grab Attention And Resonate
To get attention from your stakeholders, you need to use the right big words that they can resonate with. You need to be able to paint for them a picture that helps them understand the value of your proposal. Make it simple and keep things clear, concise, and foundational. The more you can boost engagement and clarity as you share your ideas, the easier it will be to get buy-in.
Identify Their Motivations
Whenever you can identify the motivation driving an individual, whether they are an associate or a stakeholder, it becomes much easier to get buy-in. We are all driven by something. For example, some people are driven by money, others by legacy, and others by family.
Find what drives your key stakeholders and establish a link between your initiatives and company goals and their values and motivations. This can, at times, seem time-consuming up-front, but it will be worth the effort when you get the full support you want.
Find A Common Enemy
Find a common enemy and show the opportunity at hand to take the enemy down. For example, did you know that “the amount of plastic making its way into the oceans is forecast to double between 2010 and 2025, rising from approximately eight million metric tons in 2010 to nine million in 2015 to sixteen million in 2025?
Just imagine how bad that will be for business and human and marine life.
In fact, in the report “Risk unwrapped: Plastic pollution as a material business risk” the authors write:
“. . . larger plastic items break down into tiny particles known as microplastics. These are so persistent that they may never be completely eliminated from the environment. . . . Microplastics are vehicles for toxic chemicals: substances already present in the environment attach to their surfaces, while others are substances routinely added to plastic polymers to improve their performance, such as fillers, plasticisers, stabilisers, flame retardants and colourings. Many of these additives have harmful effects on wildlife and human health. For example, bisphenol A (BPA) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), commonly found in plastic waste, are linked to endocrine disruption in both wildlife and humans. . . . Microplastics are routinely ingested by marine organisms . . . [and] integrated into the food chain, where they bioaccumulate into higher concentrations the more they ascend the food chain. In recent years, researchers have found microplastics in tap water, bottled water, seafood, table salt, and even the air we breathe.”
These are a few simple examples that would capture the attention of some of the stakeholders. Most people generally react when there is an imminent threat. When you paint a vivid picture of what is happening right now on the planet and show the stakeholders how it relates to them and how it will hurt them and their loved ones, they are bound to listen. If you approach it the right way, there is no way you will not get the resources and support that you need to go and execute.
Offer Solutions That Inspire And Give Hope
Your solution needs to be good enough that all people involved feel inspired to use it because they recognize the good that will result from it. The solution should be practical and give hope. It should help take your hotel to the next level and improve things for the better. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Take the time to inspire and explain to them, and you will get their buy-in.
I’m discovering that hospitality is an industry that is willing and ready to adapt to sustainability best practices.
We are changing and creating new positive habits. The reasons for this are two-fold: first, hospitality relies heavily on guest feedback to improve; second, most people invested in this industry tend to be compassionate and highly skilled when it comes to emotional intelligence.
As the global climate crisis accelerates and researchers figure out how to approach the issue, there has never been a more opportune time for you to present your innovative ideas.
Talk openly about the crisis. Encourage the change of daily practices within the organization and the overall operation of your business. Let your stakeholders know of the benefits they can enjoy as they channel their capacities for activism into the creation of a better world. We all want to live in a beautiful, healthy world.
Every business owner has enough compassion to understand that without a healthy planet, their business cannot thrive. That’s why it is possible to get your stakeholders to care about change and sustainability initiatives.